Help Center - Solutions to common Book Posting Problems

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If you are having difficulty posting a book, first check that you are entering the ISBN correctly on the Post Books page (under My Account).  The ISBN is 10 or 13 digits, and can be found on an inside front page of the book (across from the title page), or the back of the book, or sometimes on the spine of the book. 

  • leave off the "13" or the "10" at the beginning of the ISBN. 
  • Do not enter the hyphens (the system will remove them automatically for you if you do). 
  • Just enter the last 10 digits of the 10-digit ISBN, or the last 13 digits of the 13-digit ISBN.
  • Sometimes the last "digit" of an ISBN is an "x".  That "x" should be entered.

If you are entering the correct ISBN, and a listing comes up that does not match your book (or no listing comes up), read below for solutions.   It is NOT okay to post your book using a listing on which the information doesn't describe your book properly.  Author, ISBN (if there is one), title and booktype must all match.  Book cover image, publication date, etc.do not need to match. Posting your book correctly is a cardinal rule at PBS.

The reason that the listing in the database must match your book is that this is the ONLY information that a requestor has about your book when he or she requests it.

If your book does not match the book requested, she or he may be disappointed, and may mark your book "received with a problem (wrong book)", and ask you for the credit back.

Solutions to Common Book Posting Problems:


Problem: Your book does not have an ISBN printed on it.

Explanation: ISBNs didn't come into use until 1970. Even after 1970, not ALL published books had ISBNs printed on them. If your book is older, or it happens not to have an ISBN, you won't find an ISBN listing in the system to use. So you'll need to create a listing to match your book.

SolutionUse the "Post a Book Without an ISBN " link on the Post Books page, to post your book. You can read more about this in How do I post a book without an ISBN?.

Problem: You follow the instructions to post a book and you see the message "your book has been Posted into the system" but you don't see the book on your account Bookshelf.

Explanation:  This may be a Wish List book - in which case it will have been offered to the first wishing member in a Wish List Hold on your My Account page, OR if it was set to auto-request on the Wishing member's Wish List it will have been requested automatically by the system. In that case you will not see the book on your Bookshelf - it would have gone immediately to your My Account page, in the Wish List Hold or Wish List request.

SolutionLook at your My Account page, to see if the book is involved in a Wish List Hold or a Wish List request there. You can read more about this in Posting/Sending a Wish Listed book.

Problem: You enter an ISBN on the Post Books page, click the Check button, and nothing happens.

Explanation First check to see if you are using the Firefox browser with the extension "NoScript".  If you are, read this: NoScript and PaperBackSwap.  If you are NOT running Firefox with NoScript, then check that you are entering the ISBN correctly (see above). 

If you are entering the ISBN correctly, then this means that the ISBN isn't recognized by the database.

  • The PBS database is compiled elswhere, and sometimes has missing items.  Many of these will be added in the future during routine database updates.  In the meantime, books with unrecognized ISBNs need to be posted with customized listings, using the "Post a Book Without an ISBN" link on the Post Books page.

SolutionYou will need to post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page.

Problem: You enter the ISBN on your paperback and the book Listing Preview says "hardcover". (Or other mismatched book types - basically , if the book type of the book in your hand does not match the booktype showing on the screen):

Explanation: This means one of three things:

1.  Your book is an ARC

If your book is a paperback, and the ISBN brings up a Book Listing Preview that says "hardcover", please check your book to be sure it is not an ARC.   If it is an ARC, it cannot be posted for swapping at PBS.

Solution: You can offer this book to others in the Book Bazaar Discussion Forum, but you cannot post it to your PBS bookshelf.

2. The publisher chose to assign the same ISBN to more than one version of this title.

Publishers sometimes choose to assign the same ISBN to multiple versions of a book.  However, PBS can attach only ONE booktype to the listing for an ISBN.  If your book does not have the booktype assigned to the ISBN in the PBS database, you will need to post it with a customized listing, using the Post a Book Without an ISBN link on the Post Books page, so that the booktype matches your book.

Solution: You will need to post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page.

3. The publisher printed the book with more than one ISBN printed on the inside front pages.

Publishers sometimes include all of the ISBNs for multiple booktypes in the information at the front of a book. In that case, unless the ISBNs have notations beside them to say which booktype they represent, it can be hard to know which one to choose.

Solution(s): (1) Does one of the ISBNs say "Hardcover" in front of it, and the other say "Paperback"? if so, then you can tell which one to use (the one corresponding to the booktype you have).  (2) If not, check the ISBN on the dust jacket (for the hardcover) or the back of the book (for the paperback). The ISBN on the back of the book/dustjacket is specific to that booktype. (3) If you don't have a dustjacket, you can also scroll down on the Post Books page to see the ISBNs/booktypes under the heading "Are you meaning to post one of these other book types?" - does one of those ISBNs appear on your book, and is it linked to the correct booktype? If so, then click that and check that listing preview, to see if that is the listing that matches your book.

Problem: The book cover image doesn't match on the book Listing Preview:

Explanation: Sometimes the publisher reprints with a different cover. The book cover image does not need to match, as long as the title/author are the same.

1. If the title/author on the book cover are correct, but it is a different picture:

The book cover image does not need to match.   As long as it is for some version of that book (same title/author), it is okay.

Solution: Post the book using the listing that matches ISBN, title, author and booktype.

2. If the book cover image shown is just wrong (totally different book = wrong title/author):

Solution: Upload the correct book cover image (a digital photo you have taken or an image taken from another website), by scrolling to the bottom of any page on the site and clicking "Member Tools" then choosing "Upload Book Cover." (Full instructions are in If the book cover image on a listing in the database is missing or wrong....) The submitted image will need to be approved by one of our Image Collection Volunteers before it is added to the database.

Problem: There is no book cover image (there is a blue NO COVER AVAILABLE graphic) on the book Listing Preview:

Explanation: sometimes the listing is provided to us by our database compiler without a cover image.

Solution: You can upload a cover image as described in If the book cover image on a listing in the database is missing or wrong....

Problem: The book cover image on the listing preview matches your book, but the rest of the listing (title/author) does not:

Explanation: Sometimes our database compiler can make errors when providing the image on a listing OR the publisher can provide the wrong image for a listing OR sometimes a member uploads the wrong image to a listing (rare) OR sometimes an ISBN is used for more than one book  and the information gets mixed up on the listing. That's why the book cover image on the listing is not the thing that needs to match -- the OTHER information (ISBN, title, author and booktype) on the listing needs to match your book.

Solution: You will need to post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page.

Problem: you enter the ISBN on your book, and the listing that comes up does NOT say Large Print, but your book IS Large Print.

Explanation: This usually means that the publisher assigned the same ISBN to (at least) two different versions of the book.   At PBS, because each ISBN can be attached to only ONE version of a book, if you have the "other " version you need to enter it as if it does not have an ISBN.

Solution: Post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page, so that the Large Print status of your book is clear.

  • To make the book's Large Print status clear, you should
    • Put "(Large Print)" after the title in the title field on the Post a Book Without an ISBN page
    • Check the box for "Large Print" on that page

Problem: Title on the Listing Preview includes the words "Large Print" and your book is regular-font (NOT Large Print):

Explanation: This usually means that the publisher assigned the same ISBN to (at least) two different versions of the book.  At PBS, because each ISBN can be attached to only ONE version of a book, if you have the "other " version you need to enter it as if it does not have an ISBN.

Solution: Post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page, so that your book is not listed as Large Print if it is not Large Print.

Problem:  The Listing Preview has a "warning" pink box on it that says that the book is "Large Print" and your book is regular-font (NOT Large Print):

Explanation: This means that this is a Large Print listing - and usually the explanation is that the publisher assigned the same ISBN to (at least) two different versions of the book.  At PBS, because each ISBN can be attached to only ONE version of a book, if you have the "other" version (= a version that does not match the ISBN listing) you need to enter it as if it does not have an ISBN. 

The pink box says:

"This book is listed in the database as Large Print (16-point font size). If your book is NOT Large Print, you cannot use this listing to post your book.  If your book is NOT Large Print, Click here for more information."

Solution: Post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page, so that your book is not listed as Large Print if it is not Large Print.  If you "click here" the screens will help you post the book properly.

Problem: You believe that the listing is incorrect - for example, that the listing should be changed to "Large Print" to match your Large Print book OR your book is not Large Print and the listing should be changed to remove the Large Print designation.

Explanation: A database error is only one of the possibilities in this situation.  If you want to pursue this possibility, see the Solution below.

Solution: You can submit a correction to the Data Correction volunteers using the Edit Book Data link in the "More Options" menu on the Book Details page.  After you have done that, if the change can be made it will be made (this can take a variable amount of time), and after the change is made you can use the listing to post your book.  In other words, you must not use the listing until it matches the book you have. If you don't want to wait for the correction to be made (it may be rejected if it is not a database error), you can post your book using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page to create a non-ISBN listing that matches the book you have.

Problem: There is an error (typo/misspelling) in title or author on the Listing Preview:

Explanation:  The PBS database is compiled elsewhere, and it does have some inaccuracies. 

Solution: Upload correct information to our editing volunteers if it is a minor discrepancy (missing author first name, misspelling).  

  • To do this:
    • Click "More Options" to the right of the book cover image on the Book Details page and choose Edit Book Data from the dropdown menu (you can also access Edit Book Data from the Member Tools page, which is linked from the bottom of any page on the site).
    • Enter the ISBN, click Next->, confirm that this is the book listing you want to edit
    • Correct the information there, leaving any correct information in place.
    • Then click Submit. 
    • Your submission will be reviewed by our editing volunteers; there may be a few days' delay before the corrections appear in the database.

Problem: the ISBN brings up a Listing Preview showing a totally different book than the one you have:

Explanation: This can happen if there is a database error (see above) OR when publishers assign the same ISBN to more than one title.  

On PBS, only one book listing can be attached to each ISBN. The one you are seeing on the listing preview is the one attached to that ISBN at PBS.

Solutions:

  • If you believe there is a database error, you can submit a correction to the Data Correction volunteers using the Edit Book Data link in the "More Options" menu on the Book Details page.  After you have done that, if the change can be made it will be made (this can take a variable amount of time), and after the change is made you can use the listing to post your book.  In other words, you must not use the listing until it matches the book you have. If you don't want to wait for the correction to be made (it may be rejected if it is not a database error), you can post your book using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page to create a non-ISBN listing that matches the book you have.
  • If the ISBN was used for different books and your book does not match the listing for that ISBN in our system, you will need to post this book with a customized listing for the book, using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page.

Problem: the ISBN brings up a Listing Preview showing a matching cover image to your book, but the listing information doesn't match:

Explanation: This can happen if a member has uploaded the wrong image OR when an ISBN is being reused by a publisher, and the cover image has been updated but the rest of the listing hasn't. Please note that the Cover Image does NOT need to match on a listing, but the rest of the information (ISBN/Title/Author/booktype) must match, so you can't use a nonmatching listing for your book based on a matching cover image.

Solution:

  • You can submit a correction to the Data Correction volunteers using the Edit Book Data link in the "More Options" menu on the Book Details page.  After you have done that, if the change can be made it will be made (this can take a variable amount of time), and after the change is made you can use the listing to post your book.  In other words, you must not use the listing until it matches the book you have.
  • If you don't want to wait for the correction to be made (it may be rejected if it is not a database error, or if the previous book that used that ISBN is still active on Bookshelves or Wish Lists or swaps in our system), you can post your book using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page to create a non-ISBN listing that matches the book you have.
  • If your submitted correction is rejected (that will happen if the image upload was in error, OR if the previous book that used that ISBN is still active on Bookshelves or Wish Lists or swaps in our system), you can post your book using the Post Books without an ISBN link on the Post Books page to create a non-ISBN listing that matches the book you have.

Problem: posting an ISBN puts the book onto your Bookshelf twice!

Explanation: This happens when there is a server hiccup, or when the posting member clicked "Post book" or "Refresh" while the book-posting was in process.

Solution if the extra listing appears on your Bookshelf: delete the extra copy from your account Bookshelf.

Solution if the book was on a WIsh List and is now involved a pending Wish List hold: Wait for the book to be requested.  Accept the first request, and decline any extra requests by clicking "I cannot mail".  Doing this will remove the extra copies from your account.  You will have a chance to explain what happened to the requestor when you decline a request. 

Problem: entering the ISBN brings up the message "We're sorry, this ISBN has been removed from our system,"

Explanation: Usually if an ISBN was removed, that means that the publisher or author requested the removal of the listing for legal reasons. Even if it is entirely legal for us to display the listing on our site, we try to comply with such requests when we can.

Solution: You will not be able to use this ISBN to list the book. It's possible that you will not be able to list the book at all. However, if the ISBN was reused (if you have a different book than the banned listing), you could create a non-ISBN listing for it. In order to check on that, you can contact us - send a message with ISBN and book title/author, and ask if it's OK to list the book with a custom, non-ISBN listing. We'll check our records and let you know!

Problem: entering the ISBN brings up the message "This booktype cannot be posted on PaperBackSwap."

Explanation:  Our database does not allow this ISBN to be used because our database provider has an excluded booktype attached - for example, 'unbound' .  The database provider does sometimes get erroneous information from the publishers. Until that information is corrected, the ISBN can't be used here.

Solution: Until the database is corrected (this will happen automatically in time - but it could take a long time) this item will need to be posted as a non-ISBN item, using the "Post a Book Without an ISBN" link on the Post Books page.


Related Links:

How to post a book
How do I post a book without an ISBN?
How to remove a book from your Bookshelf
Posting/Sending a Wish Listed book
When I enter the ISBN on my paperback, the listing shows a hardcover!
If you posted a book, but can't see it on your Bookshelf...
If a book you posted doesn't show up in the system...
NoScript and PaperBackSwap